Syracuse games have been filled with inconsistency, mistakes and doing just enough to win (or in last week’s case lose). SU hasn’t played a full sixty minutes and continues to let lesser opponents hang around. Combine that with a penchant for supernatural occurrences in the Voo Doo City and tomorrow’s night game at Tulane becomes a little scary.
The Green Wave is a vulnerable squad, but Syracuse has played to the level of its competition and must guard against starting slow. Tulane is just 2-3, while SU is coming off the brutal loss to Rutgers, turned the ball over 5 times and threw away multiple opportunities to win it. With dangerous West Virginia next the Orange must beat the Green Wave to stop a losing streak before it starts. Here are the three keys for Syracuse:
- Don’t give a bad team any confidence.
This Tulane team simply isn’t very good. The Wave sits in the bottom third nationally in both scoring offense and defense. Tulane lost to Duke by three touchdowns, to Army 45-6 last week and coach Bob Toledo has complained about his lack of homefield advantage with about 50,000 empty seats every week at the Superdome. This is obviously a team the Orange should handle, but as we’ve seen nothing is guaranteed.
- Two of SU’s three units must win back respect.
The Orange needs the offense and special teams to erase their failures from last week. The defense did enough to win the game vs. Rutgers, but the other units let Syracuse down. SU must establish the run early and decide on the second back behind Antwan Bailey. Tulane gives up 168 yards a game on the ground, so it’s an excellent chance to get the run game pumping.
- Grab a lead and play from ahead.
The Orange needs to start early. This Tulane team is not built to play from behind, doesn’t generate a lot of big plays nor has an up-tempo spread offense. If Syracuse gets a lead and can run the ball, SU should get to 4-2.
The Orange has to win this game. Going into the bye with back-to-back bad losses would be difficult to swallow and could lead to this season turning ugly since the Mountaineers are next. The Orange has the capability to win handily, but has had a tendency to play down to competition. But expect the Orange to find a way and knock off Tulane, and avoid an early Halloween fright.
Posted: Alex Plavin